5 Investor Relations Tools to Automate Outreach

You’ve heard it before—time is money. With rapidly evolving technology, organizations are streamlining all kinds of tasks. Using investor relations tools and capitalizing on automation has surpassed the “nice to have” stage and skyrocketed into a “must-have to deliver the expected level of service” stage. Technology can make organizations more efficient, give their employees and clients the information they need precisely when they need it, and automate repetitive tasks that take up valuable time.

Private Equity (PE) is booming with more allocated capital in the past five years than at any point in history. At the same time, deals are more complex, and regulations are tightened. Plus, competition is fierce. 

That’s why it’s never been more important for PE firms to leverage investor relations tools to deliver value as efficiently and error-free as possible. Firms with a human-centric approach that incorporate technologies can support their IR teams with data-driven insights, automation, and tools that help establish stronger, longer-lasting relationships.

It’s no longer enough to simply put together a report with color-coded pie charts and bar graphs. Today, the success of your business depends on sharing relevant data with all stakeholders involved. After all, if you don’t, your competitors will.

Firms have many tools at their fingertips, but which ones are the most critical for fundraising and performance? Below we outline five investor relations tools to automate outreach, streamline processes, and focus on what matters most—keeping investors happy.

Email Marketing Tools

Email is a top communication tool that has stood the test of time as part of an effective outreach strategy. Why not incorporate automation that leverages this powerful tool to help with prospecting, fundraising, deal announcements, roadshows, and more?

Your firm doesn’t have hours to spend painstakingly writing individual emails for every one of your investors. At the same time, it’s not advised to blast off emails to a general list every few days—it can feel generic and impersonal. Investors will get annoyed if they receive messages that are irrelevant to them. 

Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid these problems and improve your ROI with marketing automation. Email marketing tools allow LPs to segment their audience and send timely and relevant messages depending on actions taken, interests, and/or relationship details. 

Automating email can also reduce the manual labor IR teams spend on common workflows and regular communications. Technology allows these types of outreach to be customized, automated, accessible, and distributed at the right time.  

Document Generation

Your firm likely needs to create all kinds of documents for investors. Creating these documents one at a time is tedious and leaves room for human errors. It’s super easy to enter in the wrong number or name, causing confusion, loss of trust, or worse, accidentally sharing private information.

Document generation is an easy way to create dozens or even hundreds of documents simultaneously, saving firms vast amounts of time and money. With document generation tools, firms can generate and send personalized Capital Call Notices, PPMs, Distribution Notices, K1s, and Quarterly/Annual Reports. And with the proper guidelines in place, you can trust that your documents will always be accurate and on time.

Portal Access

Stakeholder relations rely on timely and secure information, transparency, and clear communication. A self-serve portal allows investors to safely get the information they are looking for whenever they need it. 

It’s advantageous to empower investors to access the information they’re looking for instead of continuously relying on the IR team. Through Altvia’s secure portal, investors can review information and analytics at any time of day or night. There’s no need for investors to wait for an IR team to return their calls or emails—all the information they seek is in the portal.

A bonus of GP-PL Engagement Portals is that IR teams can monitor the information that investors seek.  This view into their actions gives a better idea of investors’ interests and concerns. Stakeholder relationships improve as IRs discover talking points and events that their investors want to know about.

Like the one available with Altvia, a portal reduces time spent on one-off requests and takes advantage of firms’ data, interactions, and industry knowledge to build stronger investor relations. 

Digital Signatures

These days, sending a document to an investor that they need to print, sign, and scan to send back can be incredibly inconvenient and unnecessarily time-consuming. Businesses in every industry are switching to digital signatures.

Not only are digital signatures more convenient, but they also allow you to track your digital signing process and manage users or groups with ease. You’ll gain better visibility on what has been signed and whose signatures you may be waiting on. Plus, the best digital signature applications include automated requests and reminders to help move along the process without seeming pushy.

Investor Dashboards

Dashboards are an excellent way to view and compare a great deal of data in an easily digestible manner. PE firms need a business intelligence tool that connects, transforms, normalizes, and displays data to empower stakeholders to find insights quickly.

LPs often get bombarded with notifications of their investment performance towards the end of a deal cycle. Investors want to know when they will receive returns on their investments but might not want other details like when the tax reporting for a particular portfolio is done. This is where dashboards come in.

Dashboards get the most relevant data out of the least amount of back and forth and documentation. Altvia comes with pre-built dashboards and reports, setting firms up for success on day one. As the client evolves, so do the dashboards. 

A solid investor relations dashboard is customizable to the LP’s taste. Altvia’s custom dashboards allow firms to personalize their data visualizations and display their interpretation of performance.

Gain Trust with Investor Relations Tools

The best way to stay in tune with your client’s business is by leveraging technology so you can provide additional value and set your firm apart. Trust for firms will only grow with the combination of tailored communication, the ability to let LPs have a complete view of the inner workings of their investments, and tools that streamline regular processes.

LP Experience

A traditional crm was built for general ‘customer’ scenarios

Software platforms have made the world a better place by making work a better place. Indeed the world is better off when people enjoy their jobs even marginally more, and workplace applications on big CRM platforms like Salesforce.com have done that and much more.

But the potential that platforms like these offer presents diminishing returns: once the platform provider has engineered too many industry specific components into its platform, its usefulness for other industries begins to be threatened, and with that so do the usefulness of the component tools built into the platform.

So it is with the CRM category that Salesforce.com has defined: it is generic enough to work for many industries, and yet still offers the potential for others to round off the edges and nail more vertically-oriented and extremely tailored software solutions.

Private capital markets are actually a great demonstration of this dynamic. Where generic CRM platforms simplify — appropriately so — to assume there’s a business, a customer, a sale, and service of that customer, there are a few industry-specific pieces that are missing.

Take for example, that investors become customers by investing through legal entities the GP raises. It’s a subtle but important nuance that just doesn’t make sense at a platform-as-a-service level (because it’s overly complicated for a simple one-time sale that many industries require), but which can easily be added without 10 years or software engineering. Once provided, the rest of the platform’s components become tremendously powerful again and you’re set to take over the world.

As a traditional CRM in our pillars methodology, these nuances must be present to properly account for investors in these legal entities, potential target companies and which are owned by these entities, the context of all interactions with these parties (as well as the appropriate overlap, ie co-investments), and how you’re arriving at finding these opportunities on both sides of the equation, such that you’re able to piece together what’s effective and what’s not. Not just because we say so, but because these are the very relationships and data that are key to the motivation behind a CRM in any industry.

It’s critical, too, that the valuable publicly-available information that helps to enrich CRM systems and save users painful steps of entering it themselves is fully-integrated at the platform level.

Again, look no further than the 3,000+ pre-built integrations that Salesforce.com — the creator of the CRM platform concept — has at a platform level to do so, and which only exists by way of holding just short of overly-specifying certain industry workflows that would present challenges to properly integrate.

Stakeholder reporting and communication (investor relations) draws on a range of datasets

The traditional “customer service” model of CRM systems once again makes overly-simplified assumptions about the customer relationship when applied to private capital markets.

In fifteen years I personally have yet to hear the terms “warranty” or “service call” in this market because it’s just not the same. But make no mistake, as uncomfortable as it may be to say aloud, customer service is more important now than ever and it’s constantly happening; the industry is, after all, considered to be a financial “service”.

As it turns out, that service is primarily information-based — it’s driven by data and takes the form of reports and analysis that drive decisions, and then end up again in investor-facing reports and analysis.

The foundational elements of a private capital markets CRM must be built such that they accommodate this data (like we discussed above), but so too that it can accommodate additional supporting data that investors (customers!) need in the context of service.

Oftentimes this supporting data — financial metrics and time-based values, for example — is believed not to meet the traditional definition of CRM and the natural thought is “well, better do this in Excel!”.

While I happen to believe Excel is still the greatest software application ever built, its introduction to this value chain we’ve discussed herein actually creates the problem many firms suffer from: key data needed to provide customer service (again: effectively the entirety of a firm’s reports and analysis) is now in disparate systems and detached.

Both of those dynamics are important and distinct: not only is this supplemental data disparate, but when brought together there is no logical association that can be made between the two data sets.

Allow me, then, to make the point very simply: not only can this financial and time-based value data (you may be thinking about is as “portfolio monitoring” or “accounting”) be a part of a CRM, it is arguably the most important part of a CRM because it’s at the core of what providing service to the customer entails — information that comes out of data!

Firms need a digital method to engage stakeholders (ie investor portals)

Investor portals are not new; in fact, for many of us — including myself — they conjure up horrifying nightmares in which we’re aimlessly guessing at folders to find the newest document we need.

So in lies the opportunity: not only have the portals we’ve come to hate not simplified the process of acquiring information, they’ve failed to create an entirely new experience that is “customer service” driven.

To be fair, this is not a B2C market where you’d be long out of business for not having focused on customer service and thus the customer’s technology-driven experience. But don’t expect to be around too much longer if you aren’t thinking about this shift.

Today’s institutional investors increasingly expect this same consumer-like experience, and a massive opportunity is being missed by not providing it. It’s not about providing them the experience they desire; it’s more about the ability to measure engagement that is had in return.

Put simply: what’s keeping the market from providing this experience is the availability of the information that’s required to create the service that provides the experience.

If you’ve hung in this long, you know that by focusing on your CRM, you have the data that’s required to manage the customer relationship and the technology-driven experience through which that information is shared to create a differentiated and opportunistic customer experience.

Investor Relations Tools